Can you imagine having the audacity to steal $1.7 million worth of fine wine from a Michelin starred restaurant that’s adjacent to the hotel you’re staying in? Well this couple certainly did, and how they pulled it off before getting caught is actually kind of impressive.
According to CNN, the couple committed the boozy crime at Atrio — which had two Michelin stars at the time but now has three — on October 27, 2021, and one of the officers on the case said it was planned in “minute detail.” The couple visited the Spanish restaurant three times in the months leading up to the heist, and the woman checked into the adjacent Atrio hotel using a fake Swiss passport the night of the crime. Her boyfriend later joined her but never checked in, and what happened next was wild.
The couple proceeded to have a 14-course meal at Atrio, followed by a tour of the wine cellar. Ever a fan of Fourth Meal, the woman called room service around 2 a.m. and ordered a salad, followed by a dessert. The clerk was hesitant to fulfill the orders because it would leave the front desk of the small hotel unmanned. But he finally obliged, and that’s when the boyfriend stole an electronic key from the front desk. After helping themselves to the cellar’s bounty, the couple drove off with 45 stolen bottles around 5 a.m., which were wrapped in hotel towels and stashed in their bags.
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The criminals evaded the authorities for nine months before they were eventually arrested at the Montenegro-Croatia border in July 2022. None of the stolen wine was recovered, which included two bottles from French winery Chateau d’Yquem. One from 1806 was listed on Atrio’s wine menu for $371,000, and the other was from 1883 and cost more than $47,000. The woman was sentenced to four years in prison and the man to four-and-a-half years for armed robbery. They also had to pay €753,000 in damages to Atrio.
It’s admittedly impressive the way they pulled off the heist but really sucks for the restaurant to have lost those old vintages. I just hope somewhere, someone is at least enjoying some good wine.
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